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How can someone be an honor student in elementary school and then struggle and fail repeatedly in high school or college?

Psychology Today: How can someone be an honor student in elementary school and then struggle and fail repeatedly in high school or college?

Most of the students in this study got high grades in elementary school. Many were in special programs for talented and gifted students. Their school difficulties tended to begin when they made the move from elementary school, where they were with one teacher and the same group of classmates most of the day. Entry into middle school or junior high often brought increasing difficulties in keeping track of assignments and in completing homework. We explain that these students struggled when required to operate more independently without that one teacher who can help to keep tasks and expectations organized for all subjects throughout the day. As homework requirements escalated and parents were less able to monitor what was going on in all the various classes, many of these very bright students began to flounder.

Some of the older students in the study had managed to function well even with the demands of middle school and high school. Many of them had parents who were successful in maintaining supportive scaffolding around their sons and daughters, helping them to prioritize, plan, monitor and complete multiple assignments. Often the ADD impairments of these strongly supported high IQ students did not show up until they went away to college or university. There, lost without the strong daily support of their parents, many of these very bright students were unable to cope with their schoolwork, had plummeting grades and were required to take a semester off or transfer to another, less challenging college. Just being very smart is not enough to be successful in college, university or employment; one also needs to be able to manage oneself, to work productively and to get along reasonably well with peers, professors, supervisors, and employers.

Read the paper here: Psychology Today: The Mysteries of ADD and High IQ

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